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28/10/2005

Terrorist Attacks on London

Two items:

1) To all the London police officers who were off duty but available and did not phone in to see if they were required - SHAME ON YOU.

2) Following one of the attacks, I had cause to drive along the A3. I was astounded to see Surrey Police officers manning a speed trap on a bridge over the main road. This consisted of a van, a police car and two officers, one of whom was sitting supping from a mug of tea while the camera rolled. This situation was the same the following day. This was at the time the police services of London were being stretched to capacity and beyond. Surrey Police clearly felt it was a good time to do a bit of revenue raising. Well done Surrey Police in bringing SHAME and DISGRACE on the police service at that time.

The Ability of the Police and IT Solutions

It can never be argued that the Metropolitan Police Service are at the forefront of technology. It is only a few years ago that the might of police intelligence relied on pieces of card sellotaped together and shoved in dusty filing drawers. The Met tries to move into the 21st century, but does so while aiming for the shodiest option while paying well above the market value.

Most marked police cars now have a computer system on board whereby the computer dispatch messages can be passed directly to the cars. This means that the control room will call up a car over the radio and say, for example, "Please go to 121 The High Street and meet Mr Jones who has been robbed." The cutting edge technology means that once this message has been passed, it can be sent by the wonders of technology to the car computer. This means that the officers who listened to the above message can now read it as well! Wonderful but pointless. Oh well.

What is of use is the satellite navigation system which shows where the vehicle is at any one time. This recently was used to great effect in West London when two officers were attacked. The control room immediately identified where their vehicle was - in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Very useful indeed.

One of our office phones went wrong the other day. It needed unplugging from the wall, and another one plugging in. A young spotty bloke came out and did this on our behalf. This cost the Met £135. We mentioned to him that the phone on the next desk was not ringing. He said we would have to 're-order' him. He then went and sat in his van outside until our finance manager put in another request. He then came upstairs and fixed the phone. For another £135.

This is where your tax money goes.

26/10/2005

To 'Have' or 'Have Not'

There are two types of people that the police encounter - those who 'Have' and those who 'Have Not'. This is not as obvious as it sounds. This theory can be elaborated on as follows:

Those who have:

People who have a stake in 'regular' society. Such people contribute more to society than they cost. This involves paying taxes, working, giving to charity etc etc. These people lock their doors at night and remain largely oblivious to the underclass world around them.

The 'Have-Nots':

The 'Have-Nots' are NOT the poor and unemployed by definition. A layer of society exists that operates outside 'normal' social conventions. To steal, assault and abuse is an acceptable part of the moral code of this group. Members of this group genuinely do NOT follow the route through life that is expected by those who 'have', and do NOT perceive that they are doing wrong. They exist in a nihilistic world of living for the moment. They have no loyalty and follow no standards. The 'Have-Nots' prey on the poor and vulnerable who have the misfortune of living amongst them.

The primary role of the police is to keep the 'Have-Nots' away from the 'Haves'. The 'Have-Nots' continue to feed from the poor and vulnerable. They are contained and kept satisfied. The weak rarely bring their situation to the attention of the police, and if they do, the service they receive is basic. This is the society that is subconsciously avoided.

For further reading on this issue, the think-tank Civitas have published a report on the underclass here

23/10/2005

This is Racism

The police are renowned for racism, both institutional and otherwise. I remember when this phrase became popular following the The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. I remember reading the full report and thinking, with a degree of satisfaction, that there was no evidence of racism in the actions of the officers portrayed in the report. The use of the term 'institutional racism' became popular following publication, and was often used as a stick to beat the police with. It was also allegedly directed towards wider society, but if I recall, this assertion never really took flight.
The Macpherson Report, as with other like enquiries, was politically motivated and directed. In this case, the police were used as the sacrificial lamb. The majority of the officers condemned within it's pages had retired. Although they suffered immensely, the Metropolitan Police Service was not fatally wounded.
I felt that the fall out from this enquiry would dissipate, and remain an issue for cause groups and associated lawyers alone. This does seem to be the case, despite the BBC documentary about Greater Manchester Police. We are no longer accused of racism as a matter of course whenever our activities do not meet with the strict standards of acceptability set by the 'have-nots'.

Since the Macpherson Report, I have felt confident that the concept of institutional racism was too vague and obscure to impact on the lives of real people. I believed it was an issue to be debated within academia and between cause lawyers.

I have since changed my views. The following example of the workings of the criminal justice system demonstrates why:

Two men lived next door to each other in council flats. One was black, one was white. One of the men worked as a night duty security guard at a museum. I will call him MAN 1. The other claimed incapacity benefit, and spent most of his time drinking. I will call him MAN 2.

One day, flowers were delivered to MAN 2. For once, he was not at home, so MAN 1 agreed to take them in. He then forgot about the flowers, and by the time he remembered to drop them round, the flowers had wilted. This upset MAN 2, and played on his mind.

One night, nearly a year later, MAN 1 left for work. MAN 2 remained at home, and proceeded to drink excessive quantities of spirits. MAN 1 returned from work at 7am the following morning. MAN 2 left his flat armed with a kitchen knife. He chased MAN 1 around the estate and stabbed him to death. MAN 2 stabbed MAN 1 seventeen times. He then went on the run.

MAN 2 was finally arrested, having been shielded by family members. He was charged with murder and put before the court. Despite also being wanted for burglary, and having previously failed to appear at court, MAN 2 was granted bail.

MAN 2 was tried having pleaded 'not guilty' to murder. The defence team produced 'experts' who claimed that at the time of the incident, MAN 2 was suffering from 'alcohol induced psychosis.' This meant that he could not be guilty of murder due to an inability to form the necessary intent. Should he only have stabbed MAN 1 once or twice, this would have shown he was acting 'normally' and could therefore have committed murder. MAN 2 was found guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to two years. He served 50% of this time. The prosecution appealed the sentence of the grounds of undue leniency. The appeal was rejected by the Attorney General.

MAN 2 spent around a year in prison for stabbing someone seventeen times leading to their death. Over a bunch of flowers. MAN 2 is white. MAN 1 was black.